Have we ever known Aaron Rodgers to be anything but forthright in the past?
So, when he says he is going to play on Sunday when his Green Bay Packers visit the Detroit Lions we should believe him … right?
I think not.
If Aaron Rodgers plays today in a game that means absolutely nothing to his team’s postseason position, they already have the top seed in the National Football Conference clinched, then the coach has a lot of explaining to do. Why would anyone who cares about the only games that still count for Green Bay this year risk their ticket to the Super Bowl on a meaningless final day of the regular season scrimmage at Ford Field?
I can’t find a reason from the normal list of qualifications for such a move. Those might include someone who needs the work to stay sharp headed into the postseason. But given Rodgers experience, he didn’t even take a snap during this year’s preseason, thinking he needs work to stay in sync is akin to saying you should set your alarm for 3:00 a.m. and go start your Mercedes just to make sure it will be in running order when you need it four hours later.
It is not as though Rodgers is immune from injury. He has battled a sore toe all season and three years ago he was injured on opening day against the Chicago Bears. He played through that injury in 2018, but it severely hampered his performance and his team lost nine games. The Packers need Rodgers both on the field and healthy … just not this week.
So, let’s get real, and find ourselves once again confronted with taking Rodgers’ word for it or having real evidence that reveals something different.
It is worth noting that getting ready for the postseason run would benefit Green Bay a lot more to have backup Jordan Love get some work with whomever head coach Matt LaFlelur fields Sunday in Detroit. We already know that their best receiver, Davante Adams, will not see action and I suspect given the stakes in this game and the consequences in the games to follow, a lot of other Green Bay starters are going to be given a view of the action from the sidelines.
Conversely, the Detroit Lions have everything to play for in this season ending contest. While the Lions have struggled to win games this season, they have only two wins and one tie in 16 decisions, they have been very competitive in a number of their contests. In fact, their 10-6 point spread record is bested by only two teams in the league, the Dallas Cowboys and Packers.
In contrast to what we expect from the Packers, the Lions are getting back and will play their starting quarterback, Jared Goff, who returns from an injury that has sidelined him for two weeks.
We have a choice here, is Green Bay in position to advance their 12-4 point spread record or are the Lions more likely to improve their 10-6 mark? Given the circumstances, I believe it is a lot more likely that the Lions improve their record against the line to 11-6.
The reason for this is that Green Bay will no doubt be more interested in getting in and out of the Motor City without losing any players to injury, while the Lions squad has stuck together and played hard every week for Dan Campbell, their first year head coach. Notching another win on this building block season, especially against the team with the best record in football, would send the young Lions into the offseason on a needed upnote.
And, they truly won’t get any serious fight from their competition this week. There is no doubt the Packers are more focussed on the games that next count for them that begin in two weeks.
You can either trust Aaron Rodgers or me … and I have a strong opinion on that.
Qoxhi Picks: Detroit Lions (+3) over Green Bay Packers